Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
*This was originally posted on April 24, 2022*
For the second week in a row, the UFC has successfully delivered an amazing card with almost no big names. Again, just more proof that you’ve gotta watch EVERY card. In the main event, Jessica Andrade reminded everyone why she’s always a title contender at both 115 and 125 pounds after locking in the first standing arm triangle in UFC history against Amanda Lemos. In the co-main, we saw the young contender Claudio Puelles dominate the veteran Clay Guida. We also saw a statement win from Maycee Barber as well as the two Canadians on the card: Charles Jourdain and Marc-André Barriault. All of the bouts from UFC Vegas 52 are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.
Mike Jackson def. Dean Barry by Disqualification in the 1st Round
Contrary to what most people were expecting heading into this fight, it was a tight stand-up affair in the first few minutes. Barry was doing his best to land some big shots, but Jackson was rolling and slipping most of the shots coming at him. After a BAD groin strike, Barry started to put things together, string some HUGE combos together, landing some BIG shots. It was then that Barry made another horrible, horrible mistake, giving Jackson one of the worst eye pokes I’ve ever seen. Sadly, because of that disgusting eye poke, the doctor came in and the fight was called off after Jackson said he couldn’t continue. It seemed as though the ref was going to call it a ‘no contest’, but, to the surprise of many, they called it an intentional foul and gave Jackson the win. I’m on the fence if I agree or not; Barry had the fight stopped twice with blatant fouls in the 1st Round, plus the eye poke looked VERY intentional and absolutely horrendous.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #1
Marcin Prachnio vs. Philipe Lins
This wasn’t the most exciting matchup, but it was one of the few prelims with recognizable names and it seemed like it could be a fun one to watch. Prachnio’s record in the UFC had been less than amazing going into this one, sitting at 2-3 going into this week, but those two wins came in his last two bouts to Khalil Rountree and Ike Villanueva. Lins’ record has been even worse, sitting at 0-2 so far. That being said, those losses were to two VERY impressive contenders in Andrei Arlovski and Tanner Boser. Considering their records, originally it made sense to side with Prachnio, but that’s when I realized a potential difference-maker for Lins: his heavyweight history. Lins couldn’t stand up to a powerful heavyweight like Boser, but he held up nicely against a legend like Arlovski in his UFC debut. Now he moved down to light heavyweight to fight someone like Prachnio who’s 2-3 and has a lot of KO losses. I thought Lins’ power would be too much for Prachnio and that we’d see a finish.
Lins by Finish
Just as the odds suggested, the fight was very close in the opening round. They were dead even on the feet; the difference came in the grappling. Thanks to some extra control time, I’d have said that Lins may have taken the round, but the judges could have gone either way. The 2nd Round opened up with some HEAT. Lins came in and landed some HUGE combos, stumbling Prachnio a couple of times. Prachnio came back and landed a couple times himself, but Lins clearly landed the bigger shots and seemed to hold the momentum. It was a close round after some good clinch work from Prachnio, but those exchanges from Lins loomed large on the cards. Holding the edge in stamina, Lins dragged Prachnio into the fence, likely trying to grind him down and win the decision. Prachnio managed to get up, but because of his dwindling stamina, Lins dragged him down again for the 4th time in this fight. After the fight was over, it seemed pretty close on the cards, but it seemed like Lins had won either 30-27 or 29-28. The judges agreed, all scoring it 29-28 for the new light heavyweight contender, Philipe Lins.
Philipe Lins def. Marcin Prachnio by Unanimous Decision
Preston Parsons def. Evan Elder by Unanimous Decision
Less than 20 seconds in and Parsons’ experience was evident. He ran in, dragged Elder to the ground and rode his back for a minute straight. Elder slipped out of it, but Parsons smothered him along the fence and landed some HUGE shots throughout the rest of the round. That aside, Elder was still holding his own with some pretty gnarly body kicks. Then, just as the round finished, Parsons tried to end it, getting Elder down to the ground again, smothering him and sinking in a couple of deep submission attempts. Knowing he had the wrestling advantage, Preston came in right away and slammed Elder down to the canvas again. Elder kept getting back up, but the relentless pressure from Parsons was just too much, clearly way ahead on the judges’ cards heading into the final round. Elder opened the final round looking great, pushing Parsons to the fence and even taking him down. Sadly, Parsons reversed him and returned to his dominant position, landing some elbows, and shoulders and throwing out some more submission attempts. He may not have gotten the finish, but it was a very clear, dominant decision win for Preston Parsons, scoring 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 on the cards.
Aoriqileng def. Cameron Else by TKO in the 1st Round
Aoriqileng came in heavy, throwing some nasty leg kicks at Else, pushing him against the fence and letting loose some huge combos. After some more big combos, he dropped Else back to the ground and let loose relentless ground and pound until the ref was forced to stop it in the 1st Round.
Tyson Pedro def. Ike Villanueva by TKO in the 1st Round
The fight was VERY slow to start, both men only throwing feints and light jabs. After a few minutes of that, Pedro got the action going, jumping into Ike with a BIG combo. Unfortunately, the momentum died with a CLEAN shot to the groin of Ike that stopped the fight for a couple of minutes. There weren’t many strikes flying around, but Pedro RUINED Villanueva’s leg, had him hopping around, pushed him to the ground and finished him with a couple of punches until the ref stopped it.
Sergey Khandozhko def. Dwight Grant by TKO in the 2nd Round
At the start it was Grant who got the offence going early, landing some crisp combos, pressuring forward into Sergey. After taking his time though, Sergey SMOKED Grant with a big one to drop him and threaten an early finish. After some back and forth striking, it was Grant that landed the big one, dropping Khandozhko, almost clinching the win himself. It was a wild round, but it seemed as though Grant edged ahead with the bigger, later knockdown and extra activity. The 2nd Round opened up just as furious with some combos coming from both sides. Sergey was pressuring forward for most of the round, but Grant was still landing some big ones. Just as Grant was getting back into it, Sergey landed a HUGE overhand, dropped Grant and swarmed him with combos until the ref stopped it.
Main Card Action
Jordan Wright vs. Marc-André Barriault
Thanks to fight day cancellation from the Sherman side of the Romanov vs. Sherman fight, this featured prelim was upgraded to the opening fight on the main card. Here we had a couple more well-known names and the first Canadian appearance of the night. Wright is fairly new to UFC audiences, joining in 2020, and has earned himself a 2-2 record since a 10-0 start in MMA. Interestingly, all 14 of his fights before this one ended in a finish. So far, he’s grabbed an impressive win over Jamie Pickett, but had KO losses to Buckley and Bruno Silva. We talked a little about Barriault earlier this year in February when Chidi Njokuani finished him in 16 seconds flat. Before that unfortunate appearance, he was riding with a record of 2-3 (1 NC). This was another close one on paper. Neither man had been all that impressive in the UFC and were both finished in their last appearances. The difference to me was that Wright had finished all of his wins, including one over Jamie Pickett, while Barriault hadn’t had that level of win going into this weekend. Wright also had a slight reach advantage which should help in a striking matchup.
Wright by Finish
Barriault was the one pushing the pace and pressuring early with some crisp striking, but Wright managed to get him along the fence and take him down a couple of times. Sadly for Wright, even though he was in the dominant position, Barriault sunk in the guillotine and ended the fight with an early submission win.
Marc-André Barriault def. Jordan Wright by Submission in the 1st Round
Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata
Opening up the main card was the 2nd Canadian appearance this weekend. Unlike the other Canadian on this card, Jourdain was looking good in his matchup. We’ve talked about him a few times, most recently leading up to a fight with Ilia Topuria that was cancelled late. He had a strange record of 3-3-1 with a split decision draw and loss thrown in there. I doubted his skill going into his last fight with Andre Ewell, but he impressed everyone so much that I said I wouldn’t doubt him again. Lando Vannata also had a strange UFC record, sitting at 4-5-2 before this fight. He’s been here since 2016 and has fought some decent contenders like Bobby Green, Diakese and even Tony Ferguson in his debut, but has never grabbed himself a big win. This looked like it should be a bit of a coin toss; they’ve both had problems in their career, but they both have some skill and tend to reach decisions. Based on their records, their strength of competition and how they looked lately, I had to say that Jourdain carried the slight edge and that he’d take a close decision.
Jourdain by Decision
Lando wasted no time, running into Jourdain and taking him down to the ground. He managed to get up, but Lando’s combos were looking CRISP. Then Jourdain landed a BIG straight shot, dropped Vannata and locked him into a DEEP guillotine. It took him a few seconds with Lando changing colours and putting up quite the fight, but Charles grabbed an incredible first-round submission win.
Charles Jourdain def. Lando Vannata by Submission in the 1st Round
Maycee Barber vs. Montana de la Rosa
Here we had a matchup between two women on the edge of the top 15. If you’ve seen any of the BLU-FC streams over the past few months, you’ll likely have heard me talk about Maycee Barber at some point. To refresh everyone’s memory, in her last fight, she went up against Miranda Maverick to get a spot in the top 15. She had a close fight, but ultimately it was pretty clear that Maverick had taken the win in the decision… until the judges shared their cards. In the worst judge’s decision of the year, 2 out of 3 judges had given the win to Barber. She was 8-0 in her MMA career, with UFC wins over Aldrich and Robertson, but since then, she hasn’t looked the same. She then lost a decision to Modaferri and Grasso before essentially losing a third time in that Maverick bout. As for de la Rosa, she went 1-1-1 in her last 3 with a loss to Araujo, a draw with Bueno Silva and a win over Lipski. This was a tight one and I could pretty much guarantee we’d be seeing a decision in this one. It was tough to pick one here; either you leaned towards Barber, who had only lost to ranked contenders but has looked rough recently, or you went with de la Rosa who had done well recently but hadn’t fought as many ranked women. There was one factor that I noticed that may make the difference: Barber had been struggling against grapplers like Modaferri and Maverick. Since de la Rosa had so many wins on the ground, I thought that may have been the difference that gave her the win. As a side note, de la Rosa also had a slightly longer reach.
Montana de la Rosa by Decision
The early momentum was all Maycee Barber; she came in, pushed Montana along the fence and dragged her to the ground. Montana got up and got a bit of control time of her own, but Barber seemed to be doing slightly better thanks to her extra strength. After a massive elbow, de la Rosa was really starting to struggle, clearly dropping the first round on the cards. Despite the control time on Barber’s side, de la Rosa decided to jump right back into the grappling, pushing Maycee along the fence. From there, Montana took Barber’s back, sinking in the guillotine. Amazingly, Barber managed to get out of it, finding herself in the top position. Just as the round was ending, de la Rosa flipped positions, finding herself in the dominant spot again. With two rounds that close, it’s impossible to tell which way the judges were leaning. Personally, I probably would have had it 1-1. The final round is where the fight seemed to drift out of Montana’s hands. Barber was winning the clinch battle along the fence, landing elbows and punches all over the place. In the end, it was a pretty clear decision win for Maycee Barber; the judges agreed, scoring it unanimously 30-27.
Maycee Barber def. Montana de la Rosa by Unanimous Decision
I was doubting Barber’s future in the top 15 going into this fight, but after seeing her perform, she’s proven that she’s been improving and growing to the point where she may be able to rise the ranks. Wood has been slipping down the rankings, so that’s an enticing matchup for Barber. Otherwise, perhaps someone like Calvillo or Eye would be a reasonable step up in competition. I still don’t think she’s ready to compete in the top 10, but if she can keep improving, there’s no reason to believe she won’t get there.
Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles
Once again, we had another wildly close matchup, this time in the lightweight division. On one side we had the HUGE fan favourite, UFC veteran Clay Guida, on the other, a rising contender in Claudio Puelles. Guida joined in the early days of the UFC, all the way back in 2006. He’s faced pretty much every big name in the division’s history, but he’s gone 3-3 since losing to the current champ Charles Oliveira. A couple weeks ago we talked about his most recent loss to Mark Madsen where he seemed to have won, but the judges went the other way in the split decision. Since that loss, he turned it around with an INSANE come-from-behind win over Santos where he was almost finished multiple times but snagged a submission in the 2nd Round. Puelles is much less experienced with a 4-1 record in the UFC so far. His last two wins came over Jordan Leavitt and Chris Gruetzemacher. This was a tough one to choose and seemed to be a coin toss. There were a couple of things that had me leaning in a certain direction. Guida is extremely experienced, is unbelievably tough and has relentless cardio. He would struggle against someone extremely powerful or extremely skilled like a top 15 fighter, but with someone like Puelles, who tends to have decisions or late finishes against unknown opponents, he had a very good chance. I said that thanks to those slight edges, Guida was going to outpace him to win a close decision.
Guida by Decision
Right from the start, Guida tried to use his pressure, pace and wrestling as a weapon. From there, Guida got himself stuck in a pretty nasty kimura. He managed to get out of it, but somehow Puelles quickly switched to a kneebar and that was it. A wild fact: this was a record 3rd kneebar submission for Puelles.
Claudio Puelles def. Clay Guida by Submission in the 1st Round
Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade
Headlining the night was a thrilling matchup between the rising star Amanda Lemos (ranked 10th) and the future Hall of Famer Jessica Andrade (ranked number 1 at Flyweight). We last talked about Lemos in December after she won a tight split decision over Angela Hill. Before that, she had grabbed 4 wins with 3 first-round finishes, but none over anyone of note. What is there to be said about Andrade? She’s one of the best, most experienced female MMA fighters in history. She had gone 6-4 in her last ten fights, but all those losses were to champs and number 1 contenders. She lost to Joanna and Rose in decisions and to Weili and Valentina by finish. Other than that she’s been finishing the likes of Rose (the first time they fought), Chookagian and Calvillo. There seemed to be a trend for Andrade. Whenever she’s fighting a champ or someone close to being a champ, she loses, usually in a close fight. Other than that she tends to win quite easily. There was no indication whatsoever that Lemos was anywhere near champion material heading into this one. Angela Hill is good, but you’d have to do a lot more than get in a split decision with her to prove you can compete with someone like Andrade. I thought this was going to be one of those cases where Andrade reminds everyone why she’s always in a title conversation at both 115 and 125. Plus, Lemos would have to make it through 5 whole rounds of punishment to get to a decision; I just didn’t think she could last that long.
Andrade by Finish
Unlike her usual, constant forward pressure, Andrade chose to hold off for a bit, waiting to see what Lemos would do. Lemos was landing some NASTY leg kicks, but Andrade was still doing a good job of avoiding most of her offence. After waiting for her moment, she ran straight at Lemos, got her in the clinch and started a submission on the feet. As soon as she sunk it in, it was looking rough for Lemos. They were still on their feet and Andrade just kept squeezing and squeezing until Amanda was forced to tap to an unbelievably impressive and rare standing arm-triangle choke; the first one in UFC history.
Jessica Andrade def. Amanda Lemos by Submission in the 1st Round
As always, the future is bright for Andrade. It all just depends on where she decides to fight next. She said in the press conference that she had a rough time after her last strawweight loss. Since moving camps for this fight, she said that she’s renewed and that she’ll be staying down here. If that’s true (and I believe it is), then we’re likely going to see her face off against Rodriguez or the winner of Weili and Joanna to see who gets the next title shot. Lemos didn’t look all that bad and has looked good in all her previous fights; I’m confident she also deserves to be in the top 5. I mentioned before that Xiaonan and Dern should match up, but if that doesn’t happen then either of those would be great, close matchups for Lemos.
BLÜ’s Record for the Night
Main Card: 2-3
de la Rosa (L)
KO of the Night: Tyson Pedro
Sub. of the Night: Jessica Andrade
Brawl of the Night: Marcin Prachnio vs. Philipe Lins
Most Valuable Fighter
He was brutally knocked out in 16 seconds just 2 months ago. To overcome such a setback, physically and mentally, to get a 1st Round finish against a guy like Jordan Wright is VERY impressive.